Decreasing your carb intake is powerful, for many reasons. But, don’t forget about your fiber. Whether you’re following a low carb diet, keto diet or something else entirely – finding high fiber low carb foods is critical.
Foods like this ensure you get all the fiber you need to promote health and good digestion.
All of the foods on this list are great choices. You can add them all to your diet, or just some of them.
There are many low carb vegetables and these are powerful ways to add extra nutrition and fiber to your diet.
1. Leafy Greens
The various leafy greens all have their own advantages but their nutritional profile is often similar. They’re all going to provide beneficial nutrients, along with fiber.
The best choice is normally to include a combination of them in your diet. This gives you access to the widest range of nutrients.
Nutrition data (per cup of cooked greens)
1 cup of cabbage (chopped) contains roughly 2.2 grams of dietary fiber and 5.2 grams of carbs (8). Cabbage mightn’t be the most exciting vegetable but it’s still a good source of nutrients. It’s a useful ingredient in salads too and can help bulk out a meal.
1 cup of cauliflower (raw) contains roughly 2.5 grams of dietary fiber and 5.3 grams of carbs (9).
This is another good choice for fiber. It is surprisingly effective as a source of vitamin C too, with a 1 cup serving containing 77% of your daily vitamin C intake.
Cauliflower is also versatile. Many recipes use it to create low carb versions of regular dishes. For example, you create low carb rice using cauliflower. There are also recipes like low carb cauliflower pizza crust.
1 cup of broccoli (raw, chopped) contains roughly 2.4 grams of dietary fiber and 6.0 grams of carbs (10).
Broccoli may be less versatile but it is still a good addition to the dinner table. A 1 cup serving also offers more than 100% of your daily intake of vitamin C and vitamin K.
100 g of eggplant contains roughly 3.4 grams of dietary fiber and 5.7 grams of carbs (11).
1/2 a cup of asparagus (cooked) contains roughly 1.8 grams of dietary fiber and 3.7 grams of carbs (13).
Asparagus is a useful source of vitamin K and offers decent levels of other nutrients too. More than that, it simply tastes good.
100 grams of radishes (raw) contains roughly 1.6 grams of dietary fiber and 3.5 grams of carbs (14).
Radishes are a great way to add extra flavor and crunch to a meal. They’re not an amazing source of fiber but every little bit counts.
1 cup of zucchini (chopped, skin included) contains roughly 1.4 grams of dietary fiber and 4.2 grams of carbs (15).
Zucchini has some unusual advantages for a low carb diet. Many people turn to zucchini noodles (or zoodles) as an alternative to pasta. Doing this is an easy way to add fiber into your diet. It also allows you to make many dishes you miss, like alfredo noodles or mac & cheese.
9. Pumpkin Seeds
1 ounce of pumpkin seeds (dried) contains roughly 1.1 grams of dietary fiber and 5.0 grams of carbs (16).
Pumpkin seeds make excellent snacks and they offer many nutritional benefits as well. Key compounds include iron, magnesium and manganese, along with oleic acid. They can be a good source of protein too, helping to keep you satisfied.
10. Flax Seeds
1 tablespoon of whole flax seeds contains roughly 2.8 grams of dietary fiber and 3.0 grams of carbs (17).
Flax seeds are powerful in many ways. They contain soluble and insoluble fiber. They’re also a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
They’re common in cooking too, as they expand in liquid. This allows you to make flax seed eggs, which can be used in place of regular eggs. In fact, ground flax meal is used as a low carb flour.
11. Chia Seeds
1 ounce of chia seeds contains roughly 10.6 grams of dietary fiber and 12.3 grams of carbs (18).
Chia seeds are often called a superfood and with good reason. The tiny seeds are packed with nutrients, including omega 3 fatty acids and fiber. They can be used to make a chia egg as well, in a similar way to flax seeds.
The versatility of chia seeds is another key advantage. They can be eaten cooked or raw, as long as you soak them or add them into another food first. Many different recipes use chia seeds (including chia pudding recipes). You can also just sprinkle them on top of dishes like yogurt and smoothies.
12. Hemp Hearts (shelled hemp seeds)
1 ounce of hemp hearts contains roughly 2.0 grams of dietary fiber and 3.5 grams of carbs (19).
This is a more unusual choice. Hemp hearts are shelled versions of hemp seeds. This gives you the best nutrition and the seeds can simply be eaten as-is. They’re a good source of protein and fiber, making them perfect for a low carb or keto diet.
Nuts are useful on a low carb diet, as they are a key source of healthy fats and are very satisfying. But, you do need to be careful, as they’re calorie dense. It’s also easy to eat too many of them.
The carb content of nuts varies dramatically and some are better choices than others.
1 ounce of almonds (dry roasted) contains roughly 3.3 grams of dietary fiber and 5.4 grams of carbs (20).
Almonds have been linked to many health benefits and are also extremely versatile. Key nutrients include vitamin E, manganese, magnesium and riboflavin. Like most nuts, they can also help lower inflammation and promote weight loss, especially as they are so satisfying.
14. Brazil Nuts
1 ounce of brazil nuts (dried, unblanched) contains roughly 2.1 grams of dietary fiber and 3.5 grams of carbs (21).
The size and flavor of brazil nuts often makes them unpopular. Even so, the nuts do have their advantages, especially due to their low carb content.
They’re particularly relevant as a source of selenium. A 1-ounce serving provides more than 700% of your daily selenium intake.
15. Walnuts (English)
1 ounce of walnuts (14 halves) contains roughly 1.9 grams of dietary fiber and 3.9 grams of carbs (22).
Walnuts are another interesting nut for health. They’re often associated with brain function (partly because of their shape). They’re also a good source of protein and contain relatively few carbs.
1 ounce of pecans contains roughly 2.7 grams of dietary fiber and 4.0 grams of carbs (23).
Pecans are another good low carb nut, with a nice balance of fiber to carbs. They have the same general benefits as other nuts and many people love their flavor. Pecans are also a good source of manganese and protein.
Fruit may seem like an odd choice on a low carb diet. But, many fruits are relatively low in carbs, especially if you watch your portions. They’re also powerful for health, as they contain many phytonutrients, including anthocyanins and polyphenols.
1 cup of avocado cubes contains roughly 10.1 grams of dietary fiber and 12.8 grams of carbs (25).
Avocado is extremely popular on low carb diets anyway. It offers many nutrients and is a good way to increase fat intake. The fiber content is simply one more reason to eat the fruit regularly.
100 grams of strawberries contains roughly 2.0 grams of dietary fiber and 7.7 grams of carbs (26).
Strawberries aren’t especially low in carbs but they’re still a good choice if you want fruit. They’re also a key source of antioxidants. Plus, they have an intense flavor, so a little goes a long way.
100 grams of blackberries contains roughly 5.3 grams of dietary fiber and 10.2 grams of carbs (27).
The seeds in blackberries make them an especially good source of fiber. The dark color also means they’re high in plant-based compounds. Many of those can help to promote health.
20. Star Fruit
100 grams of star fruit contains roughly 2.8 grams of dietary fiber and 6.8 grams of carbs (28).
Star fruit is uncommon but it is very low in carbs – for a fruit. The flavor is unusual too, a combination of both sweet and tart. It can be used in many ways, like in a fruit salad or on its own. The skin of the fruit is edible too and this is an additional source of fiber.
1 medium red tomato contains roughly 1.5 grams of dietary fiber and 4.8 grams of carbs (29).
Tomatoes are technically a fruit, although we use them like a vegetable. They contain the compound lycopene, which is a significant antioxidant.
1 cup of coconut meat (shredded) contains roughly 7.2 grams of dietary fiber and 12.2 grams of carbs (30).
Coconut doesn’t easily fit into a category (it’s actually a seed, a nut and a fruit, if you want to get technical). Regardless, coconut meat can be a good source of fiber. It’s great for cooking too. Many recipes take advantage of the texture and flavor that coconut has to offer.
23. Wheat Bran
1 ounce of wheat bran contains roughly 12.0 grams of dietary fiber and 18.1 grams of carbs (31).
Wheat bran is an especially effective way to add fiber into your diet. Even just one ounce contains 12 grams of fiber, which is impressive. It can simply be sprinkled onto foods or mixed in with meals. In many cases, you won’t even taste the bran.
24. Psyllium Husk
1 teaspoon of psyllium husk powder (from Viva Naturals) contains roughly 4 grams of dietary fiber and 4 grams of carbs.
Psyllium husk basically just contains fiber, nothing else. This makes it a particularly good way to increase fiber intake, especially on a keto diet. As with wheat bran, the fiber can easily be added into meals or sprinkled on top.
Why Fiber Matters So Much
Fiber mostly comes from plants – and it’s the part of plant foods that we can’t easily digest and absorb. It passes through the body mostly unchanged. That might sound pointless, but the process is essential to your digestion.
Fiber comes in two forms:
- Insoluble Fiber. This is common in dark leafy greens, carrots, celery and green bananas. It helps to add bulk to your stool and speed up elimination. Insoluble fiber has little effect on blood sugar levels or energy intake, as it isn’t digested.
- Soluble Fiber. This form is often found in beans, nuts and berries. It dissolves to form a gel, which can slow down digestion, helping you feel fuller. The impacts of soluble fiber are more complicated. Some research suggests there may be a small blood sugar impact (32) but the fiber is still mostly undigested.
Both types are essential and are present in many foods on this list.
There are many benefits to having fiber (33), including the following:
- Digestion. Fiber helps promote efficient digestion.
- Regularity. Fiber is well-known for promoting regularity. It helps increase the bulk of your stool, which makes passing it easier.
- Blood sugar control. Soluble fiber can help decrease blood sugar levels by slowing absorption of sugar.
- Lowers diabetes risk. The blood sugar impact helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes as well.
- Heart health. Soluble fiber lowers cholesterol levels, which may decrease heart disease risk. Fiber can have related benefits too, such as decreasing inflammation and blood pressure.
- Weight loss. Fiber helps you feel full. This can reduce cravings and prevent overeating.
- Management of irritable bowel syndrome. Fiber is especially important for IBS, helping to reduce some of the symptoms.
Finally, fiber promotes good gut health, as it is a prebiotic. Improving your gut health is important for living longer and remaining healthy.
How Much Fiber Do You Need?
Total fiber needs are partly based on your calorie intake. You should also pay attention to your body, as people will respond differently.
But, in general, recommendations suggest at least 25 grams per day for women under 50 and 38 grams per day for men. The site SF Gate offers more details about these numbers. You can also find gender- and age-specific guidelines in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Those are just the minimums. You may find you need more to see health benefits, especially if your calorie intake is higher.
The minimums also follow a ‘conventional’ definition of healthy. As such, they mightn’t be entirely accurate for a low carb diet. But, if nothing else, they’re a good place to begin.
Getting Fiber on a Keto Diet
The health benefits of fiber are undisputed. But, fiber is particularly relevant on a low carb or keto diet.
This means you can easily eat too little fiber, especially if you don’t plan well. Doing so can lead to constipation, bloating or other side effects.
Some people simply add fiber supplements into their diet to increase fiber intake. But, you don’t need to. Food sources of fiber are always more powerful, offering you plenty of beneficial compounds as well.
Just make sure you watch your macros. The app from ruled.me can help with this, if you’re stuck.
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